Soneva Fushi, in Baa atoll owned and managed by Soneva, has taken a "revolutionary and integrated" approach to mosquito control on the island.
In a post on Linkedin, Sonu Shivdasani, the owner of Soneva hailed a 98 percent reduction of the mosquito population on the island due to this unique idea in implementation.
"Imagine a Maldives without dengue. Imagine a Maldives without chikungunya. Imagine taking your children for an evening stroll without having to fear being bitten by mosquitoes. In short, imagine a Maldives without mosquitoes." said Sonu.
He stated that the resort had stopped using chemical fogging as a means to tackle the mosquito issue on the island which is famed for its traditional and environmentally friendly hospitality.
Sonu said, "The answer is a revolutionary, integrated approach to mosquito control, using traps instead of chemical fogging. Five hundred mosquito traps have been placed all over Soneva Fushi. The traps come in two types: the BG-GAT trap targets Asian tiger mosquitoes that have bitten someone and are searching for a place to lay eggs,"
"A second trap, the BG-Mosquitaire, attracts mosquitoes searching for blood, by using a combination of carbon dioxide and lactic acid to make an irresistible aroma mosquitoes mistake for a human."
Apart from these traps, Sonu hailed the "mosquito-hunters-in-chief of Soneva, Bart Knols, and Akib Jahir, who scour the island removing pools of stagnant water where mosquitoes often their eggs.
Soneva Fushi is targetting to eliminate the few remaining mosquitoes and declare itself the Maldives’ first "mosquito-free island" by the end of 2020, said Sonu.
"To reiterate the point, we’ve managed to do this without using chemical fogging. That’s because there’s a dirty little secret about mosquito fogging that nobody in the pest control industry that provides fogging services wants to talk about: fogging doesn’t really work," said Sonu.
He said that chemical fogging has been done so much in Maldives over the past years that mosquitoes have built up an extraordinary level of resistance to the chemicals used.
"Before we started our mosquito trap initiative on Soneva Fushi, we used standard WHO insecticide-resistance assays and found, to our shock, that the chemicals we sprayed year after year, at a high cost, killed less than 25% of the exposed mosquitoes." said Sonu.
He also noted another advantage to managing mosquitoes without using poisonous chemicals as the booming biodiversity of the island.
"Soneva Fushi now teems with native Maldivian insects such as butterflies, dragonflies, bumblebees and beetles. Since natural pollinators such as bees have come back in abundance, we’ve noticed more wildflowers and fruit bushes growing," said Sonu who added that the same initiative tackle mosquitos were now being implemented in Soneva Jani, the next resort of the chain in Noonu Atoll.
Ever the good samaritan, Sonu said that his team had already drawn up a plan for how Maldivian capital Male’ City can become mosquito-free, with the installation of 1,000 traps and employing a team of mosquito-control inspectors.
"Nobody should have to go through the heartache of watching a loved one battle dengue fever. The revolutionary approach to pest control adopted at Soneva Fushi demonstrates that we can -- island by island, atoll by atoll -- rid the Maldives of the menace of mosquitoes," said Sonu.